WW International, a private sector partner of Global Citizen, has pledged $2 million to local food banks and distributors as part of its response to COVID-19 relief efforts.
The global wellness company says the funds will go toward providing up to 10 million nutritious meals and 3 million pounds of fresh produce to those affected by food insecurity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issue of food insecurity and access around the world. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) says the number of people facing acute food insecurity could nearly double this year to 265 million, due to the economic fallout of the pandemic.
In the US alone, food banks are experiencing unprecedented demand. Feeding America, a WW non-profit partner, projects that as many as 17.1 million people in the US could experience food insecurity as a result of rising unemployment and rising poverty. Those already at risk of hunger and related issues of malnutrition, obesity, and non-communicable diseases, are disproportionately affected by the global pandemic.
For example, many low-income communities in the US are located in “food deserts,” a term that describes geographic areas that are more than one mile away from a supermarket, meaning they often lack access to fresh produce, and healthy, nutritious food is often out of reach. WW’s recent pledge to local food banks, distributors, and other organizations will help to support the most vulnerable families in this time of heightened economic uncertainty, with threats of global food shortages.
WW’s impact initiative, WW Good, supports these efforts both in the US and globally, providing fresh fruits and vegetables to families in need, and helping to break down the barriers of access for underserved communities.
WW is also partnering with Global Citizen to tackle issues around achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2: To end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030.
The number of people experiencing hunger has actually increased in recent years. Today, according to the UN, more than 820 million people do not have enough to eat and an additional 2 billion people are expected to be undernourished by 2050. At the same time, the world is witnessing a significant rise in overweight and obesity. Latest figures from the World Health Organization show that about 39% of adults worldwide are overweight and 13% are obese. This issue, the coexistence of undernutrition along with overweight, obesity or diet-related noncommunicable diseases, is defined by the WHO as the “double burden of malnutrition.”